Thoughts Over the Wire

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Dan's Dose of the Day: Time as a Resource Part 2

In the first post of this two part blog, I left unanswered one key aspect about viewing time as a resource - How. It’s pretty clear that using and viewing time as a resource will yield many benefits, but it's not a simple calculation that fits cleanly into an ROI formula. Much like primary care, the benefits are only realized downstream after an extended period of time. Consider an application of technology which reduces a clinician’s workload. That clinician may not fully realize the effect, in this case, decreased risk of burnout, until weeks or months after implementation. Furthermore, preventative calculations have larger degrees of error as there are more unknowns involved. So how?

The answer to the question ‘How to view time as a resource’ is actually quite simple - don't look at healthcare as a for-profit business or industry. I know what you might be thinking, either “Dan, healthcare is not a business and it certainly isn’t for profit!” (if you're thinking this I would love to know what country you live in!) or “if we don't treat it as a business, we can’t keep up with the ever growing demands.”

The demand list of providing quality care is quite large and expensive. There are constantly new drugs, new devices and technology, new research and best practices to adopt. Expenses like the staff and clinician salary and building upkeep are also still just as much of a concern. The organization needs to stay relevant and produce good numbers as well so that the reputation maintains a good status, no one wants to go to a cheap hospital with long wait times and subpar service. Bottom line is, profit is needed to do it all.

It's no surprise why people with that view and perspective have no choice but to look at time as money.

“If your technology does not return me a tangible and quick ROI, it has no place in my business.”

So how can we get away from this perspective? By returning to the roots and core values of what healthcare is all about - helping people. If you take a look at every single healthcare organization, whether it be a hospital or a tech organization, they will all have similar mission statements and core values, to provide the best patient care, or to provide the best solutions that promote the best patient outcomes. The end goal is patient centered care - any hospital’s mission is to say ‘Our patients come first in everything we do’. All of them echo the message to do good and help people. I think somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of that.

Technology and solutions that truly ‘put the clinicians and patients first’ should not be ignored simply because the ROI is harder to see. More often than not, they are focusing on giving more time back or focus on preventing negative events from happening. It’s time we start really embracing what matters most in healthcare.

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